As India recorded over 93,000 cases in the last 24 hours, the highest single-day increase since mid-September 2020, Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked states to take stringent measures, with comprehensive restrictions in places. Modi was addressing a high-level meeting on Sunday to take stock of the alarming rise in Covid cases and the progress of the vaccination drive in India.
The Prime Minister also asked states reporting high cases to “continue with the mission-mode approach” so that the collective gains of Covid-19 management in the last 15 months are not squandered.
Modi has directed that central teams consisting of public health specialists and clinicians be sent to Maharashtra in view of the high case load and deaths, and also to Punjab and Chhattisgarh because of the disproportionate number of deaths being reported there.
The Prime Minister said that the five-pronged strategy of testing, tracing, treatment, Covid-appropriate behaviour and vaccination, if implemented with utmost seriousness and commitment, would be effective in curbing the spread of the pandemic.
Top government officials, including Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba, Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan, Niti Aayog member V K Paul and Pramod Kumar Mishra, principal secretary to the prime minister, discussed the Covid situation and the response to it at the meeting.
India had hit the Covid peak in September 2020, with the highest single-day cases recorded at over 97,000 on September 17.
Now, around 81 per cent of the new cases have come from eight states alone: Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Delhi, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat.
Maharashtra has accounted for 57 per cent of the total cases in the country in the last 14 days and 47 per cent of the deaths during the same period. In Maharashtra, the total number of new cases per day has touched 47,913, which is more than double its earlier peak.
While Punjab has accounted for 4.5 per cent of the total number of cases in India in the last 14 days, it has made for 16.3 per cent of the total deaths.
During the meeting, a brief presentation was also made about the vaccination drive in the country, India’s performance with respect to other countries and an analysis of the vaccination programme in all states. The government has said that vaccine manufacturers were ramping up their production capacity and were also in discussion with other domestic and offshore companies to augment production.
“All efforts are underway to secure adequate quantities of vaccines to meet the rising domestic requirements as well as to meet the genuine needs of other countries in the spirit of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam (the world is one family),” a government said in a press statement.
The 10 high-burden states and Union Territories are contributing 91.4 per cent of total cases and 90.9 per cent of total deaths in the country.
The government will organise a special campaign for Covid appropriate behaviour with emphasis on 100 per cent mask usage, personal hygiene and sanitation at public and workplaces as well as health facilities from April 6 to April 14.